The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Discovering Hidden Gems on the Road to Colgate

The journey to Colgate University takes on various forms for students, with some traveling from distant continents on international flights and others, like the Hamilton locals, not having to venture far. However, most students hail primarily from New England or the Tri-state area, and their trek to Colgate involves a substantial but manageable drive. Typically spanning three to seven hours, this drive becomes a familiar routine for students as they make the trip numerous times throughout their academic journey — for holidays, breaks, and the start and end of each school year. Over time, it becomes not just a commute, but also an opportunity for marking milestones on the calendar and discovering Upstate New York along the way.

Senior Angela Mangione — from Buffalo, NY — makes a three-hour eastward journey on I-90. She drives through Syracuse, Manilas, and Cazenovia on the way. Mangione recommends exploring the Finger Lakes region, a breathtaking area she frequently passes through. She also highlights the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, located about 90 minutes east of Hamilton, as a must-see destination. This wetland preserve is a critical habitat for migratory birds along the Atlantic Flyway, making it a beautiful stopping point for those traveling east on I-90.

“The finger lakes are a gorgeous region that I always pass by. Definitely worth a stop!” Mangione said.

Junior Anthony Hannan — traveling up from Pennsylvania — spends about four hours and 30 minutes on the road, mostly headed north on Interstate 81. He has discovered the charm of Whitney Point, a small town by a lake, approximately an hour away from Colgate.

“For people coming up to school from the South, Whitney Point is a small town on a lake that is about an hour away from here right off of Interstate 81 and is absolutely gorgeous in the fall,” Hannan said.

At Whitney Point, you can stretch your legs along the Whitney Point Community and Lake Walkway and enjoy a hearty Italian meal at Aiello’s Ristorante, a historic tavern-style restaurant.

It’s not just students who find these hidden gems; parents, like the mom of senior Carly Kleinberg, also enjoy the journey.

“My mom always stops at Woodstock — she loves it!” Kleinberg said.

Kleinberg travels from Syosset, NY, on Long Island, and the trip takes her about five hours. Woodstock, NY, is known for its vibrant arts and music scene. Although it’s often associated with the 1969 Woodstock Festival, the town itself didn’t host the event; it took place nearly 60 miles away at Max Yasgur’s Dairy Farm in Bethel, New York. Nevertheless, Woodstock remains a charming artistic town well worth a visit. Exploring Mill Hill Road, the town’s main street, reveals many shops, restaurants and cafes. Kleinberg explained it’s a wonderful stop, especially for those coming from the New York City area.

For travelers coming from the East, the journey along Route 20 before merging onto I-88 East or reaching Albany, NY, is approximately 70 miles. Along this route, the town of Cooperstown, NY, stands out as a particularly intriguing stop. It’s home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, the Farmers’ Museum and the Fenimore Art Museum. Furthermore, unique attractions can be found directly on Route 20, such as the now-permanently closed Petrified Creatures Museum of Natural History and The TeePee Gift Shop in Cherry Valley, NY. Driving through this area feels like stepping back in time, with a scattering of old motels also providing a glimpse into a bygone era. Much of this history is tied to the hustle and bustle of the Erie Canal, which runs between the Hudson River and Lake Erie. For those passing through Utica, you can stretch your legs along the Erie Canalway Trail.

The journey to Colgate University is more than just a drive: it’s an opportunity to explore the diverse culture, nature and history of Upstate New York. Whether it’s the scenic Finger Lakes, the artistic allure of Woodstock or the Erie Canal, these stops add excitement and tradition to the journey for both students and parents.

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